Saturday, May 22, 2010

Art Style PiCTOBITS Review

Written by pikaby

Art Style games are usually abstract takes on the puzzle genre with some abstract, fresh ideas and some quirky rules that probably won't last very long on retail against the likes of Tetris. And PiCTOBITS does resemble Tetris in some way, but the play style is completely different.

Yo're presented with a grid of 'bits', colored blocks you can pick up and all to a palette to drop somewhere else, including hanging in mid-air. Join the bits with larger falling blocks called 'megabits' and cleared pixels will fly up to the top screen to complete the 8-bit picture above. Simple enough on paper. After the initial fiddly half an hour trying to figure out the palette thing I started to get more used to it and could chain a few times to earn high scores. It's quite an easy game to learn but the offshoot concept takes some getting used to.

There are 15 stages in this 500 point package, and completing each one will reveal a homage to characters from the NES era of gaming. This is fine, but there could have been more variety, when you consider that exactly one-third out of the fifteen stages all reference Mario characters. Surely there's more to NES than just Mario. Why pick 2 stages for Devil World when you could do Duck Hunt, Metroid and Donkey Kong? Nintendo made some weird choices for the stages.

The puzzling thing is quite addictive, and there's a fair amount of replay value as you jostle for high scores brought about by multiple chains. As the picture gets finished the music gradually fills the stage, more and more until it's finally done. The remixes, provided by YMCK, sound perfectly good. Earn coins from stages to purchase music for the in-game bleepy-bloopy jukebox filled with classic 8-bit tunes. Coins can also buy you 15 Dark Stages, variants of the original 15 with increased difficulty(and a different, often larger, picture to complete) which provide an acceptable degree of challenge.

The 8-bit presentation and the interesting puzzle concept brought to the table warrants enough attention to give it a go, and  it's one of the better ArtStyle games on DSiWare. 500 points for this is a decent value for money.

Score: 8.5/10

blog comments powered by Disqus